Written by: Maine Dela Cruz
The Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world. As early as September, shops, and supermarkets begin selling traditional Christmas food and ingredients. Queso de bola (Edam cheese) and ham flood freezers and markets as the holiday season approaches. For Filipinos, food is an important component of every household’s Noche Buena.
However, not all of us are experts in the kitchen. That’s why we’re fortunate to have access to the fiber internet, where we can browse a plethora of Christmas recipes.
Christmas Dinner Staples
Each year, Filipino Christmas menu is dominated by Spanish classics such as jamon or ham usually topped with brown sugar glaze, queso de bola, a variety of viand or food paired with rice, and simple salad dishes that don’t require rocket science to prepare. Another important Filipino component is kakanin, which is traditionally served on Christmas Day. As far back as pre-colonial times, indigenous Filipinos would give up glutinous rice cakes to their deities in the form of bibingka and puto bumbong.
More than that, our tables are laden with many other Noche Buena mainstays. A Filipino occasion isn’t complete until there’s enough food on the table.
Christmas Food Ideas
The majority of families have their own personal repertoire of go-to dishes. However, it might be difficult to recreate your favorite Christmas foods if you’re away from home for a job or permanent residence purposes. You may write our families and ask for their favorite Christmas-related recipes, or you can just peruse some of our favorites online from Panlasang Pinoy:
Morcon is a traditional Filipino meat roll made of sausage or hotdogs, carrots, pickles, cheese, and egg. This is a festive meal that is often served on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Typically, preparation takes an hour and cooking takes an extra hour.
What you need
- 2 lbs beef eye of round or flank steak 3/4 inch thick in one piece
- 2 pieces beef cubes dissolved in 3 cups boiling water beef stock/broth
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 piece lemon
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 piece medium-sized carrot cut into long strips
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cooking oil
- 4 pieces hotdogs cut in half lengthwise
- 2 pieces pickled dill or sweet pickled cucumber cut lengthwise divided into 4 equal pieces
- 3 pieces hard-boiled eggs sliced
- 3 ounces cheddar cheese cut in strips (about 1/2 inch thick)
- Marinate the beef in soy sauce and lemon juice for at least 1 hour
- Place the beef on a flat surface and arrange the hotdogs, pickle, carrot, cheese, and egg on one side
- Roll the beef enclosing the fillings and tie with a cooking string to ensure that the meat will not open-up
- Place cooking oil in a pan and apply heat
- Dredge the rolled beef in flour and fry until the color of the outer part turns medium brown
- Transfer the fried rolled beef in a casserole and pour in the beef broth then bring to a boil
- Pour in half of the soy sauce-lemon juice marinade, salt, and simmer until the beef is tender (about 2 hours using ordinary casserole or 30 minutes if a pressure cooker is used)
- Optional: Fry the simmered meat for at least 2 minutes
- Remove the strings and slice them into serving pieces
- Place in a serving dish and add the sauce.
2. Crispy Pata
Crispy Pata, or crispy deep-fried pork leg, is a popular pig dish in the Philippines. This dish pairs well with rice and atcharang papaya as the side dish. Additionally, it is consumed as beer food or pulutan. It is finest served with a hot vinegar combination dipped in it.
What you need
- 1 piece whole pig leg cleaned
- 6 pieces dried bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorn
- 4 pieces star anise optional
- 6 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 12 cups water
- 6 cups cooking oil
- Pour water in a cooking pot then let boil.
- Put in dried bay leaves, whole peppercorn, star anise, and 4 teaspoons of salt.
- Add the whole pig’s legs to the cooking pot then simmer until the leg becomes tender (about 45 to 60 minutes).
- Remove the tender leg from the cooking pot and set aside until the temperature goes down.
- Rub the leg with garlic powder, ground black pepper, and remaining salt. Let stand for 15 minutes to absorb the rub.
- Heat a clean large cooking pot (preferably with cover) and pour-in cooking oil.
- When the oil becomes hot, deep fry the rubbed pork leg. Continue cooking in medium heat until one side becomes crispy, and then cautiously flip the leg to crisp the other side. Note: Be extra careful in doing this procedure.
- Turn off the heat; remove the crispy pork leg; and transfer it to a wide serving plate.
- Serve with atcharang papaya and soy sauce – vinegar or calamansi juice dipping sauce.
3. Saucy Menudo
Not surprisingly, some of the most popular Filipino recipes have a rich sauce or stew. These rely on some of the greatest flavors and spices, which we have in plenty. Also, we have a nice selection of veggies to go with them. Menudo is one of several dishes using this taste fiesta. We can taste the richness of each ingredient in a delicious stew that combines meat and vegetables like potatoes and green peas. wor
What you need
- 1 1/2 lbs. pork
- 1 piece Knorr Pork Cube
- 1/2 lb pork liver
- 4 pieces hotdog sliced
- 2 pieces potato cubed
- 2 pieces carrot cubed
- 1 piece bell pepper sliced
- 3/4 cup green peas
- 1 piece onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 pieces Laurel leaves
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon sugar optional
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a pot. Saute half of the onion and garlic. Add liver once the onion softens and continue cooking for 1 ½ minute while stirring. Remove all ingredients from the pot. Set aside.
- Using the remaining oil, saute the remaining garlic and onion. Add pork slices. Continue sauteeing until the outer part of the pork turns light brown.
- Pour soy sauce and tomato sauce. Stir.
- Add Knorr Pork Cube and water. Let boil.
- Add laurel leaves. Cover the pot and adjust heat to low. Continue cooking for 30 minutes.
- Add the cooked liver back into the pot along with the hotdog, potato, and carrot. Stir. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add bell pepper and green peas. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Season with salt, ground black pepper, and sugar.
- Finish by adding the cheese.
4. Filipino Style Spaghetti
Spaghetti Filipino Style is a spag variation with a sweet and savory sauce. The sauce’s primary component is ground pork. Additionally, sliced red hotdogs are included. This distinguishes and intrigues this spaghetti variation.
What you need
- 2 lbs. Spaghetti cooked
- 1 piece Knorr Beef Cube
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 6 ounces luncheon meat minced
- 4 pieces hotdogs or beef franks
- 35 ounces Filipino Style Spaghetti Sauce
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Minced onion, 1 piece
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook Spaghetti according to package instructions. Set aside.
- Start to make the sauce by heating oil in a cooking pot.
- Saute onion for 30 seconds.
- Add garlic. Continue to cook until the onion softens.
- Put the ground meat into the cooking pot. Continue to cook until it turns light brown.
- Add luncheon meat and hot dogs. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour Filipino-style spaghetti sauce and water. Stir. Let boil.
- Add Knorr beef cube. Stir. Cover and cook in medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Top sauce over cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
5. Paella Marinera
Paella is served as a main entree in the Philippines and is considered a special meal on chosen celebrations such as Christmas, New Year, Easter, and fiestas. The Filipino Paella is usually mixed paella or seafood paella. It is a complex dish that entails several ingredients and a multi-step procedure to prepare.
What you need
- 2 lbs seasoned yellow rice arroz amarillo
- 1 lb mussels tahong
- 1/2 lb fresh squid cleaned
- 1 lb cooked clams almejas
- 8 pieces medium crabs cleaned
- 1 lb shrimp cleaned
- 43 ounces tomato sauce
- A hint of Tabasco sauce
- 3/4 cup pimiento sliced
- 3 medium onions diced
- 1 head garlic minced
- spanish saffron
- 3 to 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Combine seasoned yellow rice and water and soak for 3 hours.
- Heat a Paellera or large pan then pour-in olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, saute the garlic and onions.
- Put-in the crabs, mussels, shrimps, clams, squid, Tabasco sauce, salt, and ground black pepper. Cover the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until the juices come out.
- Add tomato sauce then cover the pan. Cook for a minute.
- Stir then simmer for 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the cooked seafood to a clean plate.
- With the remaining juices and tomato sauce on the pan, put the rice soaked in water and stir well. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the Spanish saffron then gently stir. Cover the pan and continue cooking in low heat until the rice are done.
- Top the cooked yellow rice with pimiento then arrange the cooked seafoods over it.
- Serve with some lemon or lime wedges.
6. Chicken Kare-Kare sa Gata
Traditionally, kare-kare is made with tripe or oxtail as its main protein – but why not use chicken instead? Chicken kare-kare is a rich and hearty meal your whole family can enjoy.
What you need
- 1 1/2 lbs. chicken cut into serving pieces
- Knorr Chicken Cube, 1 piece
- 1 cup crushed peanuts
- 2 bunches baby bok choy
- 1 piece eggplant sliced
- 8 pieces snake beans
- 1 piece onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 cup bagoong alamang
- 3 cups coconut milk
- 5 tablespoons cooking oil
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Rub salt all over chicken pieces. Let it stay for 5 minutes.
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a cooking pot. Pan-fry chicken for 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan. Set aside.
- Add remaining oil. Saute garlic and onion until the latter turns translucent.
- Pour-in coconut milk. Let boil. Add paprika and turmeric powder. Stir.
- Add chicken. Cover the pot and let the sauce boil.
- Add Knorr Chicken Cube. Set heat between low to medium. Continue cooking for 25 minutes.
- Add peanut paste. Stir until paste is completely diluted.
- Put the eggplant, snake beans into the pot. Cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add bok choy. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Season with ground black pepper.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with bagoong alamang.
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